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The Think meetings worked well for me because they were on Wednesday evenings. Could we do that again? The Quine-Dunham subject sounds good.
0 · October 15, 2014
David: How about a description of what the Quine-Duhem hypothesis is?
0 · November 10, 2013
See the very first entry here.
0 · June 8, 2014
If you need more: http://en.wikipedia.o...
Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy:
Sometimes called the Quine-Duhem or Duhem-Quine thesis. The thesis that a single scientific hypothesis cannot be tested in isolation, since other, auxiliary hypotheses will always be needed to draw empirical consequences from it. The Duhem thesis implies that refutation is a more complex matter than might appear. It is sometimes framed as the view that a single hypothesis may be retained in the face of any adverse empirical evidence, if we are prepared to make modifications elsewhere in our system; although strictly speaking this is a stronger thesis, since it may be psychologically impossible to make consistent revisions in a belief system to accommodate, say, the hypothesis that there is a hippopotamus in the room when visibly there is none.
0 · December 9, 2013
OK, thanks Bob for posting all that!
It's kind of a troll argument. A person could jump to the conclusion that DQ means we can't believe the results of scientific testing because we have to make so many peripheral assumptions that any results of an experiment are suspect.
One of the most important aspects of science is that experiments should be repeatable. DQ is relevant for the first experiment only. When the experiment is repeated by other scientists, there will be different assumptions surrounding the new hypothesis. If the hypothesis is confirmed repeatedly then this pattern allows us to grant provisional trust in the hypothesis. That is, application of the scientific method (specifically replication)makes DQ irrelevant in scientific circles.
This does not mean that there is nothing we can learn from DQ. It is a good idea to identify assumptions before trusting conclusions. If we use DQ as a tool for self-improvement rather than as a bludgeon for those we disagree with it can be very useful indeed.
Another way that DQ has been misused is that I could jump to the conclusion that since all scientific testing is surrounded by assumptions, whatever supernatural wishful thinking I come up with could also be just as true because my set of assumptions says so.
Reed College Philosophy major
I am a Physical Oceanographer (i.e., I study the physics of the ocean; such as, ocean and...
Hi, I'm Andrew and I started thinking a few years after my 40th birthday.
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